Considering the different playoff systems the CCS has tried, it’s clear that finding a perfect objective playoff system is extremely difficult. This year, the folks at Gunn and King City are the ones that feel slighted by the system.
Gunn went 8-2 and tied for the SCVAL-El Camino title, yet the Titans didn’t receive one of the league’s two automatic playoff berths or one of the section’s seven at-large bids. Over the past three years, the Titans have posted a 21-4 record, but they’ve failed to reach the postseason in any of those seasons. Obviously, there were no playoffs during the pandemic-shortened spring season, but the Titans went 8-2 in 2019 as well but failed to reach the playoffs.
“There needs to be at least one more division because there are too many deserving teams being left out,” Gunn head coach Jason Miller said. “Right now algorithms and equations play too big of a factor in a game played by kids.
King City went 7-2, but the PCAL-Cypress Division has just one automatic bid, which went to Scotts Valley. Losing to Pacific Grove last Thursday sealed the 16th consecutive season without playoffs for the Mustangs.
While both Gunn and King City are sitting at home, Milpitas and Sacred Heart Cathedral are each headed to the playoffs at 3-7. The system rewards strength of schedule, and both the Trojans and Fightin’ Irish have a bevy of losses to excellent teams while Gunn and King City didn’t play a single ‘A’ league opponent. SHC is also the only team outside of the Division I field to have beaten a Division I team, topping Bellarmine 20-13 on Oct. 15.
The system also relies on CalPreps rankings, which shifted just before seeding and had a few major effects. The biggest of those was Aragon jumping Terra Nova for the final at-large bid. The Tigers beat Hillsdale, who the Dons lost to in their season finale, but Aragon has a win over a King’s Academy team that beat Terra Nova.
There were also some complaints further south along the coast as Half Moon Bay was given the fifth seed in Division II, with the 4 seed going to Menlo. Rather than host the Knights on a Friday night at John Francis Field, the Cougars will be playing on Menlo’s natural surface on Saturday afternoon, away from the fog and HMB home crowd. While the Cougars do lose their home field advantage, the game will likely receive far more media coverage, with only two other games being played on Saturday afternoon.
344 yards, no offers?
Spectators who witnessed Viliami Teu’s remarkable 45-carry, 344-yard performance in St. Francis’ win over Serra on Saturday were shocked to find that the 5-foot-11, 195-pound senior has yet to receive any scholarship offers.
“It’s ridiculous that he doesn’t have any offers yet,” Saint Francis head coach Greg Calcagno said of the section’s leading rusher. “I think a lot of it has to do with last year being such a crazy year. We barely played, college recruiters couldn’t come out and college coaches don’t know who’s coming back on their roster for next year.”
Teu’s numbers speak for themselves, though. In nine games, he’s averaging 8.8 yards per carry, 192.9 yards per game and has found the end zone 20 times, plus a kick return touchdown. Yes, he’s playing with a terrific offensive line, but his ability to break tackles and avoid fumbles against even the most tenacious defenders is consistent with any high-level player. His grades aren’t an issue, and there are certainly no character problems. Speak with Teu after any game and he’s always deflecting praise to God, his coaches and his teammates. As loud as his performances are on the field, he’s one of the most soft-spoken players in Northern California.
Calcagno added: “He’s not the quietest person when he’s around his teammates, but he smiles a lot and he’s a very humble and gracious young man.”
The Lancer program has recruiting connections all over the country, and programs have started to discuss Teu, with Wisconsin making a call to Calcagno the other day. Still, no official offers have come in yet, and whoever is lucky enough to land Teu’s services will come away with one of the steals of this year’s recruiting class.
Odds and ends
Normally, calculating stat leaders at the end of the regular season is easy, but with so many teams only playing eight or nine games, calculating results on a per game basis is a bit more difficult. While leaders for most individual stats are available on MaxPreps, at least for teams that have entered their data on the site, there are a couple of more unusual categories that are worth recognizing here.
By points per game, the top five teams were Menlo (44.9), Aptos (43.9), Santa Cruz (42.4), Los Gatos (41.6) and St. Francis (40.3). The five most anemic offenses were Lick (3.1), El Camino (6.3), San Jose (7.5), Mills (7.8) and Oak Grove (8.1). Sobrato’s offense was the most average at 23.8 points per game.
Lick also had by far the most porous defense, allowing 55.4 points per game. Rounding out the top five behind the Comets were Willow Glen (38.5), Mitty (37.3), Monta Vista (36.4) and Prospect (36.4). The five best defenses belonged to Santa Cruz (6.7), San Mateo (8.7), Los Gatos (9.7), Menlo (9.7) and Hollister (10.0). San Mateo’s results are especially remarkable when considering the 37 points the Bearcats allowed to Burlingame, all in the first half of Saturday’s loss. The average defense allowed 23.4 points per game, and Riordan was the closest to that mark at 23.2.
Fans of offensive shootouts would be delighted to watch Half Moon Bay. Games involving the Cougars were the highest-scoring of any team in the section, with an average of 72.0 combined points. Not far behind were Prospect (68.4), Menlo-Atherton (63.6), Valley Christian (60.5) and Aragon (58.4). It’s no coincidence that both the Cougars and Bears are on the list of highest-scoring teams. M-A escaped with a 47-46 win over Half Moon Bay on Oct. 8.
El Camino’s games were the lowest-scoring in the section, with an average of 32.9 total points. Among the other teams featuring in low-scoring games were Rancho San Juan (34.3), Los Altos (34.9), Watsonville (35.0) and rivals Oak Grove and Santa Teresa (both 35.6). The average game had 47.2 points scored, and King’s Academy was closest to that mark at 47.4.
Looking for close games? Sacred Heart Prep’s games were decided by an average of just 7.9 points this season, by far the lowest in the section. Only one game, a 56-20 loss at Menlo-Atherton, was decided by more than one score. Other teams that played close games throughout the year were Pacific Grove (12.4), Cupertino (12.6), Sacred Heart Cathedral (12.9) and San Lorenzo Valley (13.6).
Considering how poorly the Comets ranked in everything else, it’s no surprise Lick had the most lopsided games, decided by an average of 52.3 points. Other teams playing in blowouts almost every week, win or lose, included Aptos (37.3), Santa Cruz (35.8), Menlo (35.2) and Yerba Buena (34.1). While most of the teams that played lots of lopsided games were either extremely good or extremely bad, the Aztec Warriors are an outlier. Yerba Buena went 5-5 but playedd just two games decided by less than three scores, a 34-33 win over Mills and a 34-31 triumph over Evergreen Valley.
The average game in the section was decided by 23.3 points. 5-5 Christopher’s games were decided by an average of 23.2.
With two previously undefeated teams suffering their first losses on Saturday within three miles and four hours of each other in San Mateo, five teams still have perfect records entering the playoffs. St. Francis, Salinas and Los Gatos are all in the Division I playoffs, while Menlo and Santa Cruz are in Division II.